Q: Does God Answer All Prayers or Just Those in His Will?
Selected from our Questions and Answers program
A: Paul says, “Pray about everything and worry about nothing and in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (see Philippians 4:6). The amazing thing there is that he says when you go to God in prayer you should thank Him because He’s going to answer it. And a lot of times He says no; He won’t answer it except according to His will. That’s something that the asker of this question brings out, writing: “My reading and meditating and prayer leads me to believe that prayers not according to the will of God aren’t even heard, meaning He ignores them. He wants and encourages us to pray, but His way.” I want to read two verses that she gives to support her opinion: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14,15). To hear us means to answer it, which is exactly what Paul is saying over in Philippians — He’s going to answer your prayer, and He’ll say no if it’s not according to His will. How do you know that you’re in the will of God when you pray? You can know it after you’ve prayed and you don’t get the answer you wanted. You’re in the will of God when you get the petitions you prayed. That’s what John is saying.